NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 06: Kelly Jennings #23 and Geno Atkins #97 of the Cincinnati Bengals stop quarterback Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Tennessee Titans short of a first down during play at LP Field on November 6, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Bengals won 24-17. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Former Bengals defensive tackle Clinton McDonald didn't have a place on Cincinnati's 2011 roster. With eight players eventually surviving final cuts on the defensive line, most of whom produced valuable and significant contributions, McDonald became expendable. So the team shipped him to Seattle for cornerback Kelly Jennings, a former 2006 first round selection, in a late-August trade. For his part McDonald, who played 436 defensive snaps for Seattle, proved to be an effective run stopper for a Seahawks defense that played very well against the run in 2011.
Jennings on the other hand struggled.
Jennings allowed an opposing quarterback rating of 90 or better in his first five games against receivers he covered. Eventually he settled down, only allowing six of 12 receptions in Cincinnati's final four games (including Cincinnati's wild card loss to the Houston Texans). For the season Jennings allowed three touchdowns, a 60.8 completion percentage and an opposing quarterback rating of 106.2.
However when a receiver caught the football, Jennings was the most reliable and sure-tackler in the NFL this year. According to Pro Football Focus, Jennings only missed one of 32 attempted tackles in 2011, giving him a tackle efficiency of 32.0 (a minimum of 25 attempted tackles required for inclusion).
Jennings is one of 20 Bengals players entering free agency as an unrestricted free agent.